Forensic science technicians are sharp-eyed individuals responsible for collecting or analyzing evidence that can put criminals behind bars. Whether you want to be an on-the-ground CSI or focus on laboratory work, your best bet is to get a bachelor’s degree in forensic science, biology or chemistry.
Duties of a Forensic Science Technician include:
At crime scenes
- Analyze crime scenes to determine what and how evidence should be collected
- Take photographs of the crime scene and evidence
- Make sketches of the crime scene
- Record observations and findings, such as the location and position of evidence
- Collect physical evidence, including weapons, fingerprints, and bodily fluids
- Catalog and preserve evidence for transfer to crime labs
- Perform chemical, biological, and physical analysis on evidence taken from crime scenes
- Explore possible links between suspects and criminal activity using the results of scientific analyses
- Consult with experts in related or specialized fields, such as toxicology (the study of poisons and their effect on the body) and odontology (a branch of forensic medicine that concentrates on teeth)
- Reconstruct crime scenes
All forensic science technicians prepare written reports that detail their findings and investigative methods. They must be able to explain their reports to lawyers, detectives, and other law enforcement officials. In addition, forensic science technicians may be called to testify in court about their findings and methods.
Education and Training:
Forensic science technicians typically need at least a bachelor’s degree in a natural science, such as chemistry or biology. On-the-job training is usually required for those who investigate crime scenes and for those who work in labs.
Important Qualities for Forensic Science Technicians are:
Communication skills. Forensic science technicians write reports and testify in court. They often work with other law enforcement and specialists.
Composure. Crime scenes are often the results of acts of violence and destruction, but technicians have to maintain their professionalism and objectivity.
Critical-thinking skills. Forensic science technicians use their best judgment when matching physical evidence, such as fingerprints and DNA, to suspects.
Detail oriented. Forensic science technicians must be able to notice small changes in mundane objects to be good at collecting and analyzing evidence.
Math and science skills. Forensic science technicians need a solid understanding of statistics and natural sciences to be able to analyze crime scene evidence.
Problem-solving skills. Forensic science technicians use scientific tests and methods to help law enforcement officials solve crimes.
Employment of forensic science technicians is projected to grow 27 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. However, because it is a small occupation, the fast growth will result in only about 3,800 new jobs over the 10-year period. Competition for jobs will be strong because of substantial interest in forensic science.
Take a listen to a Forensic Chemist describing what it takes to be in this exciting field.